What do you look forward to at Anthrocon every year?
And for those of you curious lurkers who haven't been able to make it to AC yet; What are you most excited to do at your first AC?
I'm not gonna talk about the stuff on the schedule. Everyone looks forward to that.
I think that the moment that I most look forward to every year is when I park the car, throw my daypack over one shoulder, and walk over to the hotel to check into my room. And am greeted by a lobby full of giant animals, and people walking around in ears, tails, and all manner of strange and wonderful garb. No matter how many conventions I have attended (including more than a couple of years on staff at FurFright/Furpocalypse) it's always the same. And it never gets old.
It's hard to describe... But I feel myself making a mental shift.
And once the shift is done, I tell myself: "Soggy, you're home! For the next four nights, real life and the outside world don't exist. Turn off the news-radio, don't turn on the TV. Just go have fun!" And have fun I do!
And then there's the random and unexpected stuff. Chance meetings and brief conversations with GOHs, dancing fursuiters, hearing piano music on Sunday evening and tracking it down in time to sing along with Cosmic playing Billy Joel's "Piano Man", helping an AC staffer lug something heavy, arriving at a panel early and ending up helping them set up, wandering around the con-space drinking in the atmosphere while fooling around with one of my animal hand-puppets, answering questions from newbies and the general public (How do they recognize me?!? Does being on staff at a furry-con mean that you get "Can I Help?" tattoed on your forehead in ink that is invisible in a mirror and all known forms of image-capturing devices?!?)... Things like that are always my fondest memories.
And my traditional Thursday evening lasagna wrap at FURnando's. Om-nom-nommy-num-nums!!!!!!!!
I know what you mean - arriving and falling back into place in 'con mode' its is own special magic. Particularly for AC, I find it can feel almost like picking up right where we left off last year in a way; time has obviously passed, but no matter how hard or long the year between was, we are back with friends again.
And the random and unexpected stuff definitely makes for some of the best memories.
Turn off the news-radio, don't turn on the TV.
Oh well, guess I blow that part of the con for you, with my tendency to check out the 11 o'clock news each night before turning in.
But yes, as has been well-said in this thread so far, there's a spirit and atmosphere that pervades AC that I imagine only a furry con can provide, and since AC is the biggest of all furry cons, the feeling is the most pronounced here. Never in my life have I felt as outright relaxed, comfortable, at ease and just plain happy as I have at AC over the years. A couple of years ago, on the Sunday night after Closing Ceremonies, I was hanging in the Westin lobby watching the suiters cavort, and there was a local there with his young daughter, taking in this spectacle to her sheer delight. As I told that dad then, "Disney likes to boast it's the happiest place on earth, but for one weekend each summer, Pittsburgh becomes the happiest place on earth."
I'll have to agree with the above.
The intense slide from normal life to 'The Anthrocon Vibe' is remarkable.
For me, there are some friends that I only get to see at AC. Being able to link back up with them and carry on as if we hadn't had a year of absence is just wonderful.
Then there is the aforementioned escape from the world for a while, just existing along with other people with similar interests and whimsy for a few days. Just having fun and not being concerned with whatever else is going on "out there".
And just...the feeling of being at a con. The ambient excitement. The art that's everywhere, regardless of the format. The late nights looking out from atop the roof of the convention center at the city of Pittsburgh, in the company of friends, and just feeling good.